Red Line Lullaby | Lorena Alvarado

$ 7.00

Lorena Alvarado is originally from Huntington Park, California. She is a visiting scholar at Rice University, and is writing a book on the performance of Mexican popular music, Playing with Feeling. Her essays on the aging, singing queer body and the politics of deportation in music have appeared in Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory and The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Media.



red line lullaby III

an american flag
painted on her
pinkie nail
with her hands
as she speaks
to her cousins
about how to get
to the Sky Deck
She undulates in this
CTA Train full of
Vietnamese speakers
From the suburbs, Chicana
travelers and
Black America

I see her fingers
Clutching the rail
The patriotic design
Sliding down with her hand
As if bringing
Her hidden banner
Into half mast

She’s on her way
to willis tower
on memorial day
(all those downtown
stunning skyscrapers
their views
of arteries
from above
but not their blood)

She shows me
Her open palm
I hold her petite
Hand of nacre
I peruse its lines
read the ink-
smeared name
of her destination
when she asks
do you know where
to exit
to get here

She’s already there…
rise from her hands
towers she sweats
into illegible ink

and rather than
the four states
and silent boulevards
from the sky deck
from here
from her
I see a different view
A flat american flag
chipping away from
her nail,
99 cent store acetone
willis tower
and other steel
onto her palm